'I would like to acknowledge the Boomwurung and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay respect to their elders, past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people here today.
'I would also like to acknowledge the ancestral stories of our people which we safeguard in the world’s oldest library – the land, seas, skies and atmosphere of this country.
'It is a great honor and privilege to give the 2018 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture. One small thing that I have in common with Stephen Murray-Smith is that I also came from a home that was bookless, but even so, I would not have traded a childhood that was enriched every day by the oral storytelling culture of my family and our people. Now I live more than a thousand miles from my home in this beautiful city of literature. I read that Stephen Murray-Smith had unswerving principles about the things he believed in, and I am sometimes like this too.' (Introduction)
Editor's note: This is a transcript of Alexis Wright’s 2018 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture, delivered at the State Library of Victoria, 3 December 2018.